There's a bit bubbling controversy regarding a backlash to the Democratic National Convention Committee's selection process for state bloggers. 21 bloggers representing 12 already-credentialed blogs sent a letter yesterday to DNC Chairman Howard Dean protesting the DNCC's selection process that appears -- in the viewpoint of the bloggers -- to have been used by state parties to silence critics.
The letter first praises Dean:
Let us begin by noting our respect for your position at the Democratic National Committee and the reforms you have made. Your efforts to rebuild the Democratic Party in all 50 states has reinvigorated the political debate across the country -- and strengthened not just the party, but our country as well, in the process.
Then zooms in for the kill:
We write to you today out of concern that the same principles that have strengthened our party are today being ignored in the state blog credentialing process for the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer. As long-time progressive state bloggers, we have now witnessed many of our well-respected colleagues from crucial states be passed over. In many states, it appears that parochial politics and hurt egos played a role in these decisions. These concerns run counter to our shared goals of using programs like the state blogger pool to
"tear down the walls" in Denver -- and better connect the American people with the events on the ground. The Democratic Party endangers its own long-term viability when it makes fealty a criterion for inclusion. Instead, the Party should act to ensure that it includes its ideological media allies, even if those allies are occasional tactical or strategic critics. We, the undersigned, have been included in the state credentials pool, despite our own history of criticism of local Democratic actors. This speaks well to the character of our own local parties. But while our peers in other states are being excluded, we'd be remiss in staying silent.
We encourage you to review the selection process undertaken and reasons given by state parties for excluding some of America's most respected state level progressive blogs. We believe a fair and thorough review is necessary to ensure success for this promising experiment in shining a light on the Democratic Convention.
Most notably, according to the bloggers, is the exclusion of Juan Melli's Blue Jersey, an award-winning New Jersey political blog. His blog has been critical of the state Democratic Party; New Jersey's blog credential was given to PoliticsNJ.com (now PolitickerNJ.com), an excellent, albeit non-partisan site run by the mysterious Wally Edge and owned by the New York Observer.
The signers of this letter include Lowell Feld, a top Virginia blogger,the writers of LeftInTheWest.com awarded State Blog of the Year in '06 by IPDI; and bloggers from California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, and North Dakota.
I'll update with the DNCC's response when I get it...